Is There a Limit to How Many Credit Cards I Can Get in a Year?


If you have excellent credit, then may believe that you can be approved for any new credit card. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In recent years, it appears as if some credit card applications are being denied despite an applicant’s solid credit history.

Why Your Application May Have Been Denied

If a bank will offer you tens of thousands of points or miles when you open a new card, what’s to prevent you from opening up two new accounts? How about ten, or, even, one hundred? There are some credit card enthusiasts and award travel hobbyists who try to exploit these offers to their logical extreme, in the pursuit of as many points and miles as possible.

Customers could theoretically collect these signup bonuses, but not actually use their cards once the minimum spending requirements were met. In addition, without restrictions, cardholders could seemingly apply for the same credit cards and earn multiple sign-up bonuses.

The Issuers Weigh In

Some card issuers are placing limits on the number of cards that customers can receive, irrespective of their credit history and credit score, that can thwart the aforementioned practices (also referred to as card churning). For example, most applications for Chase cards specify that “this product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.”

According to an email from a spokesperson for the bank, “Chase carefully reviews each application, and considers a variety of factors, including the number of cards opened. Customers who open multiple card applications in a short period of time, regardless of issuer, will likely encounter difficulties.”

American Express specifies on its credit card applications that the “welcome bonus offer is not available to applicants who have or have had this product.” An American Express spokesperson confirmed this policy in an email, though they pointed out that the company makes targeted offers to customers as well. 

Finally, a spokesperson for Citi explained in an email that “for Citi-branded Cards, we do not have a hard limit on the number of cards a consumer can have.” However, “bonus points are not available if a cardmember has opened or closed a card in the past 24 months within the same family of cards,” they added. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

How Many Credit Cards Should You Get in a Year?

Whether or not you will be able to receive multiple credit cards might depend on the policies of the particular bank you are submitting your application to. But the more important question is how many credit cards should you apply for each year.

Many American credit card users carry a balance on their cards at least some of the time. These cardholders who are paying interest on their charges are best-served by focusing on paying off their balances, not applying for new credit cards to earn rewards. (These credit card users may alternately want to consider applying for a single new card with a 0% annual percentage rate promotional financing offer for balance transfers. You can find more on balance transfer credit cards here.) 

If you consistently avoid interest charges by paying your entire statement balance in full each month, then, yes, you might want to consider occasionally updating your credit card portfolio. And when you do so, you should try to take advantage of the most competitive new offers, and the most generous signup bonuses. However, you should only be applying for new credit cards if you are sure that you can manage the new accounts responsibly — meaning you can pay all your bills on time and keep the amount of debt you owe on individual cards and collectively below at least 30% and ideally 10% of your limit(s).

Beyond that, it’s important to read the terms and conditions of any credit card you’re considering carefully in order to determine if it’s the right one for your wallet. Also, you’ll want to be sure your credit can handle a small hit. Each credit card application can generate a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can ding your credit scores — and multiple inquiries can do some bigger damage, particularly if your credit is on the bubble. (You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free on 

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.


Image: Eugenio Marongiu

The post Is There a Limit to How Many Credit Cards I Can Get in a Year? appeared first on

The Biggest Mistake You’re Making on Your Credit Card Application


It can be painful to have your credit card application rejected. Besides losing out on any rewards and benefits that you had hoped for, being denied a credit card can feel like your entire financial history has been judged and found inadequate.

And while some applicants simply lack the credit history necessary to be approved for a particular card, others make a common mistake that results in their application being rejected. Simply put, most credit card applicants fail to report all of their eligible income.

Income Sources When Applying 

When asked to list their income on a credit card application, many will count only their salary from full-time employment and omit other valid sources of income. For example, you can also include the income you earn from part-time work or from a small business or freelancing practice that you operated on the side.

In addition, most credit card issuers will allow you to include spousal and parental benefits such as alimony and child support. Applicants are also free to include income received from government payments such as Social Security benefits for retirement or disability. In fact, you can even include any income that you receive from your own investments such as your 401K or other retirement savings accounts.

Using Someone Else’s Income

In addition to counting all of your personal income from various sources, you can also include your household income on credit card applications, provided that you have a reasonable expectation of access to it. The CARD Act of 2009 was actually amended for this specific purpose after it was found that non-working spouses had been unable to qualify for a credit card in their own name.

Furthermore, household income can even extend beyond your spouse to include other family members, such as those in multigenerational households. For example, someone who lives with an adult child or with their parents or grandparents could also include any income used by the household. And as with your own income, you can count all of the sources of income from each member of your household, so long as you have a reasonable expectation of access to this income to pay for your credit card bills.

Net Versus Gross Income

Another reason some people underreport their income on credit card applications is that they use their net income instead of their gross income. Your gross income is total amount of salary or wages that you are paid by your employer before any deductions for benefits, taxes or retirement savings. And as any first-time wage earner quickly realizes, the difference between your gross income and what you actually receive in your regular paycheck can be dramatic.

Putting It All Together

Even if you don’t intend to carry a balance (and it’s a best practice not to), a credit card application is essentially a request for a loan. Thankfully, credit card issuers and government rules allow applicants to use their total gross income from many sources, including other household members. By taking the time to add up all of these potential sources of income, and including the total on your credit card applications, you can avoid this common mistake and increase the chances of being approved for your next card.

Of course, it’s in your best interest to apply for a credit card that you can afford to have in your wallet and fits your spending habits. And, no matter what card you choose (or your income), you’ll want to check your credit before applying since you’ll still need a good credit score to qualify for the best terms and conditions. (You can view two of your scores, updated every 14 days, for free on

Image: ferrantraite

The post The Biggest Mistake You’re Making on Your Credit Card Application appeared first on

I Keep Getting Rejected for a Credit Card. What Am I Doing Wrong?


There are lots of reasons to add a credit card to your wallet. Maybe you need to build credit. Maybe you’re looking to score extra rewards via a big sign-on bonus. Or maybe you’re looking to transfer a balance on an existing card to pay off your debts at a lower interest rate.

Whatever the reason, simply wanting (or needing) some new plastic won’t necessarily qualify you for a card. Each lender has different underwriting standards, and you’ll need to meet that criteria to secure approval. Still, if you’re getting rejected every time you fill out an application, there’s a good chance something’s gone wrong.

Here are some common reasons people get rejected for a credit card (and some tips for getting around them).

1. You’re Applying for the Wrong Cards

Believe it or not, you can get a credit card with bad or thin credit. In fact, there’s plastic specifically designed for those who need to build or rebuild their credit. So, while a lackluster credit score could definitely be the culprit, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get approved for a card. You may just need to start applying for plastic your current credit profile can qualify for — like a secured credit card, which requires cardholders put down a deposit that serves as their credit limit, or student credit cards, which are geared to young consumers looking to establish a credit history.

Once you do obtain a credit card, be sure to use it responsibly (i.e. make all payments on time and keep debt levels as low as possible) to improve your credit score. That way, you can apply for credit cards with better terms and conditions down the road.

2. Your Income Is Too Low

Credit card issuers don’t only check your credit when you apply for a card — they also generally ask you for job and income information. And, yes, your current employment status or salary could wind up disqualifying you for a particular line of credit. Again, to minimize the odds of rejection, research credit cards that aren’t clearly being marketed to big spenders, like premium credit cards loaded with perks and a high (think $100 and up) annual fee.

3. You’ve Applied for Other Cards Recently

Some issuers view a long list of new credit inquiries as a sign of danger ahead, the idea being that you either need or will misuse all that new credit. So, even if your credit score is in good shape following an application spree — each generates a hard inquiry on your credit report that could ding your score — you could be getting denied due to all those recent applications.

4. You’ve Fallen Victim to Identity Theft

If these rejections are coming as a big surprise, you may want to check your credit reports for signs of identity theft. Fraudulent accounts or inquiries could be hurting your score and leading you to get rejected for cards that you would otherwise qualify for. (You can pull your credit reports for free each year at and view your two of your credit scores, updated each month, on If you discover you’re a victim of identity theft, be sure to report it to the proper authorities and to dispute the information with the credit bureaus. You can learn more about what to do if you’re a victim of identity theft here.

More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:

Image: Aleksandar Milutinovic

The post I Keep Getting Rejected for a Credit Card. What Am I Doing Wrong? appeared first on